Oil smell

Hi my car been running fine and smooth until yesterday afternoon I noticed a noise while driving on the freeway than it stop on me …it wasn't smoking or anything it just had a bad smell while trying to start it back up …but I think it have something to do with my oil or engine because the light been on for quite a while

My car has 975431 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Experienced mechanics share their insights in answering this question :
Hi There,
If the smell you are referring to had an oil smell to it, you may have a leak resulting from a failing gasket somewhere in your engine. As you know, there are many different places in your motor that are sealed by gaskets. I would suggest narrowing this down by placing a piece of cardboard underneath the vehicle when parking it at night to test for a couple of things. Number one, does it leak when the motor is not running or otherwise under pressure and two, approximately where under the vehicle does the leak come from. Gaskets can fail over time due to excessive heat and will eventually shrink causing them to fail and leak. Depending on how severe this leak is, this may cause the engine to lose oil more rapidly, which may result in major engine damage if not repaired soon. I would recommend having an expert from YourMechanic come to your location to diagnose and repair your oil leak.

How to Identify and Fix Common car Problems ?

Our sources include academic articles, blog posts, and personal essays from experienced mechanics :

The oil is probably leaking down onto the hot exhaust system and burning off — leaving an odor but no drops. As long as the oil level doesn`t drop below a safe level, this leak isn`t harmful. But if you`re going to keep the car, I`d recommend having the gasket replaced.
When the oil level in your vehicle gets too low or the oil gets old, you might start to smell burnt engine oil in one of its many forms while behind the wheel. These smells indicate that your car needs an oil change and that it`s time to schedule an appointment with your local maintenance center.
Oil Leak: An oil leak will drop oil onto the exhaust system, which will create a burning oil smell in the cabin of the car. The smell might be even more noticeable outside of the car. Oil leaks can happen in a number of different locations in the engine.
If your car has a burnt oil smell, this could indicate an oil leak or low oil level. Check the level with a dipstick and look for leaks around the area. If your oil level is low, schedule an oil change as soon as possible. If you suspect a leak, head straight to a mechanic.
The following are some of the most common reasons for an oil smell in your vehicle: An oil leak that is dropping into the exhaust system. Keep a close eye on your oil dipstick; if your oil is low and you`ve had your regular oil change, there is probably a leak.
While it`s normal for some cars to burn more oil than others, it`s best to have your vehicle serviced as soon as possible if you experience consistently low levels. Losing too much oil can lead to serious engine damage and expensive repairs, especially among older cars with 100,000 miles or more on the odometer.
Generally speaking, burnt oil will have a thick, acrid odor. Its unpleasantness will stand out during your drive, and more often than not, you won`t be able to overlook its presence.
Boil a vinegar and water solution.

Bring 1 cup of water and 1 tablespoon of vinegar to a boil in a small saucepan. Let it simmer for a few minutes. Some people add bay leaves, fresh rosemary, vanilla extract, lemon halves or peels, or cinnamon sticks to cut down the vinegar-smell (and add a pleasant natural odor).

Vinegar: If the oil smell in your home was due to a problem with your furnace and not a spill, you can mitigate it by placing dishes of vinegar near your furnace and in front of each vent. Replace each with a fresh container of vinegar every day until the smell is gone.
Excess oil will burn if it gets into contact with heated engine parts. Oil puddle underneath your vehicle could be a warning sign that your oil might have overflown.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendation: avoid exposure to motor oil and inhalation motor oil fumes.
Usually, short-term exposure to fuel oil won`t cause long-lasting harm, but breathing in the vapors in an enclosed space like a basement can cause symptoms. At high concentrations (like those involved in large spills), these symptoms can include: Dizziness. Eye, nose, or throat irritation.
And while the result isn`t as drastic, driving fast burns oil as well. However, this is typically only true at high RPMs, and the burning of oil is negligible unless you have other engine issues.
While it`s normal for some cars to burn more oil than others, it`s best to have your vehicle serviced as soon as possible if you experience consistently low levels. Losing too much oil can lead to serious engine damage and expensive repairs, especially among older cars with 100,000 miles or more on the odometer.

Relevant Questions and Answers :

the most relevant questions and answers related to your specific issue

lost all oil pressure, replaced the oil pump, low oil sensor, oil pressure sensor, oil pan gasket,
ANSWER : The fuel pump will not stay on if you loose oil pressure. This is why it is shutting off. The loss of oil pressure may be from bad crankshaft bearings or camshaft bearings. The engine oil pan should be removed and the oil pump needs to be checked to ensure that you put in the pick up tube seal to the pump and connected the pump to the block. Then remove at least one main bearing cap and inspect the bearings for excessive wear and crankshaft damage. If you need some help with this, consider YourMechanic, as a certified technician can help diagnose the issue with your oil pressure firsthand and help you fix it accordingly.

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Just found out that my vehicle has been leaking oil for at least 2 yrs. Would smelling that burning oil smell cause health issues?
ANSWER : Hi Larry. As the co-founder or a non-profit that focuses on education, awareness and screening for respiratory diseases targeting the automotive community, I am happy to answer a few questions for you to clear up some facts. First, there are multiple materials, chemicals, and substances on a vehicle that are emitted from the mechanical actions of the vehicle that MIGHT reduce respiratory function and lead to a diagnosis of COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) or other respiratory diseases. However, it is nearly impossible to prove the precise source that can cause respiratory problems. Whether due to excessive exposure to these substances, social choices (smoking), workplace environment, indoor air quality in the home, even certain genetic conditions, it is possible for lung function to decrease over time. At Right2Breathe.org, we always recommend that anyone that is experiencing any breathing issues, visits their primary care physician and have them complete a spirometry exam (a non-evasive breathing test). This will allow them to measure your lung’s function and begin the official diagnosis process. Thank you very much for asking this important question. Feel free to contact us if you have further questions.

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Oil consumption. Burning oil. Oil light turns up on idle.
ANSWER : Hi there, thanks for writing in. The valve stem seals are the most common cause of this on your engine. When they fail, it requires that the cylinder heads be removed and rebuilt to fix it. The piston rings can also cause this but they are not as common. Unfortunately there is not anything, not even heavier oil that will fix this. You will need to have the heads rebuilt.

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I smell oil burn smell in car. This started after my last oil change. What could it be?
ANSWER : Depending on how long ago your last oil change was, this may be the result of an oil leak or potentially oil that has dripped on the motor somewhere that has been heated up. This happens occasionally when changing oil and is usually not a cause for concern, however if there is any indication of an oil leak (even a slow or slight leak), this will need to be looked at by a qualified mechanic such as one from YourMechanic as this will only continue to get worse.

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My car is leaking oil i got an oil change for it last month but it is still leaking oil what will cause my car to leak oil ?
ANSWER : Most older cars have oil leaks. Sealing technology has just not kept up with mechanical improvements to engines so much so that leaks often kill engines rather than mechanical problems. So, it is not unexpected at all to have an, indeed many, oil leaks on a 23 year old car. Oil leaks vary hugely in terms of severity and priority of repair. Oil leaking onto a hot engine manifold is the worst case (the oil can start a fire; at best, you are left breathing oil fumes in the cabin, as the oil burns off of the manifold) while de minimus seepage of oil at the oil drain plug or oil pan gasket, while annoying and messy, if limited enough is not an emergency. Some leaks are easy to repair, while others literally require the engine to be removed just to get physical access to all the leak points. In your circumstance, if you smell burning oil, oil is probably leaking onto a hot engine part such as the exhaust manifold. A certified Mechanic, dispatched by YourMechanic right to your location, can perform an oil leak diagnostic and then let you know of your repair options and costs.

As far as the check engine light, that is not related to the oil leak(s). If you request a check engine light diagnostic, a certified mechanic from YourMechanic would use a code scanner to retrieve the specific diagnostic trouble code(s) from your car’s PCM that have caused the check engine light to illuminate. Using those codes, the appropriate individual vehicle components or sub-systems (often a sensor, circuit, and the like) are then carefully tested, based on specifications set forth in your car’s Factory Service Manual, to pinpoint the cause of the fault or the reason why the check engine light has illuminated. Once the faulty part or component is identified, it is explained to your satisfaction and the mechanic will let you know of the cost to repair. If you have further questions or concerns, do not hesitate to re-contact YourMechanic as we are always here to help you.

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Just noticed a huge oil leak trailing my car. It seems to be coming from below the engine. I recently had my oil changed a month
ANSWER : You might have a problem with the oil filter leaking when you rev the engine and increase the oil pressure. This can be from a collapsed oil filter media or excessive oil pressure from the engine. I recommend having the oil and filter replaced using a good quality filter and have the oil leak verified to be from the filter. Make sure to not run the engine low on oil. If you are finding you do not want to drive with the leak, a mobile technician from YourMechanic can come to your home or office, and replace both your filter, and oil.

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2006 BMW oil filter gasket keeps breaking and oil leaks from oil filter. Oil leaks only after starting car in morning. PCV valve?
ANSWER : Hi There,
It sounds like you may need to replace the oil cap o-ring. If you haven’t done this before there are two O-rings to replace; a small green one on the base of the filter cap stem and the large black one that seals the filter cap (which seems to be the one you are having issues with). The large O-ring sits in a small square-shaped groove that is at the base of the oil filter cap. It is very easy to not properly seat the large O-ring because the threads for the oil cap are quite large and will accept the O-ring if you are not careful. I would suggest having a professional from YourMechanic come to your location to take a look at your vehicle.

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Stop car check oil warning
ANSWER : This light will usually come on when one of two things are happening. Either the motor is in fact low on oil or the oil pressure sending unit is not working properly and may be producing a faulty reading. I would recommend first, to check the actual oil level in the motor by using the dipstick. Be sure the oil level reaches the "full" mark. If this registers as "full" then you likely have a faulty oil pressure sending unit. I would recommend having an expert from YourMechanic come to your location to take a look at your vehicle to determine what may be causing your low oil pressure light to come on.

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